Your Authentic Self (Mr. Mutsa Samuel – Founder, UbuntuLab)
This session was about becoming aware of yourself and with that awareness how you can transform into the best version of yourself. Now, of course, transformation is not a process that will happen overnight, however, taking the time out to make a conscious effort to start understanding who you truly are; your authentic self, is a concrete step we take towards moving in that direction.
Mr Samuel spoke about a lot of different things, including a process to walk on the path of that beautiful transformation. As humans, we have an innate goodness in us and immense strength. Tapping into that power source will always prove to be enriching, motivating and will cultivate an innate confidence in us to excel in different areas of our life.
Before we can move on to transforming, we have to understand what authenticity is. We have to be true to ourselves, our capabilities, our skills and what makes us the people we are. Authenticity is also a concept that allows us to make choices and discriminate between things based on our genuine belief systems, values and ideas. Mr. Samuel mentioned that when our actions and our beliefs (who we are) are in sync, that is when we are authentic.
Another interesting aspect he mentioned was that it is almost like we have two selves.
- Acquired Self: these are labels that come to us from the external world, so what people tell you, based on the community you live in, your environment, the way you are brought up.
- Authentic Self: qualities that are innate in you, what your values, beliefs and ideas really are
An interesting thing that happens is, when we are young, babies rather, our authentic self is what is prominent, however, as time passes, we interact with other people, communities, we share ideas and notions with each other and all these labels start coming toward you. What people think you are, and what you are told you are among many things – start to form another identity, which is the Acquired Self.
He spoke about this in a remarkably interesting way – at the core, we have our authentic self, and these labels that a are given to us (could be true or not), they start to a layer around the authentic self. What this does is, we start paying more attention to the labels given to us, rather than make the effort to break that layer and understand who we truly are. It is not that our Authentic Self has disappeared or vanished, rather its hidden.
Mr Samuel took the session to explain his method of tapping into the Authentic Self. It would seem like a very tough thing to do, but really, it is you taking the time, to listen to yourself, question yourself and dig deeper. It is like uncovering a treasure that has been buried for a really long time.
Once you are able to uncover that, it gives you a powerful experience of confidence, clarity and joy. He mentioned before starting this process, it is of vital importance to create a space within ourselves. It keeps you balanced, centered and composed, to really be in sync with what you are feeling.
He introduced a 3-step process to reach our potential and be in sync with our authentic self. The steps are:
Rediscover why you exist
In this step, what I have understood is that it is important to identify how we talk to our self. What kind of words do we use when we evaluate things? Would we use the same words when talking to our family or friends?
I really resonated with one specific thing he said. When we put labels on ourselves by saying “I cannot do this”, or “it’s really not my thing”, our fears and ego are trying their best to keep you where you are.
Our fears, egos and insecurities attempt to stop us from trying out new things, in a way they are coaxing us to stay where we are comfortable. Staying in your comfort zone feels like a safe place, but getting out of that zone, enables us to learn new skills and mind-sets that push us to places we never believed we could get to!
He also mentioned a few probing questions that hold our hand and take us to a place where we can understand what is driving our behaviour to stay where we are and not reach our potential. When we react to something, it is easier a response that is pleasant, indifferent or negative per say. What happens when we start to question our reactions and why we perceive something the way we do.
Once you tune into these things, it becomes clear that it is possible to change our reactions in a way that can benefit us, regardless of the situation. It allows more autonomy and gives us the chance to take responsibility for what we are feeling. This acceptance will then take us to a place where we are able to face it head on and deal with our problems.
Align your actions to your existence:
In this step we address how we communicate with others and what blocks us from being able to send and receive messages effectively. This was quite enriching because it shed light on how easy it is to misinterpret what is being said or told.
He mentioned that in every conversation, there are 6 other conversations happening side by side. If there are two people talking (A and B)
- A thinks of himself and how they are communicating
- A thinks of what B is like
- A also thinks of what B thinks of A
And these conversations happen vice versa, B is thinking of the same. In a moment, all these thoughts, ideas and notions come to our mind when we share an interaction with someone.
I thought that this explanation makes it even more clear of the need to listen to others with an open mind and an open heart. I believe a lot of listen to what the other person is saying merely to reply, when instead we should e listening to understand. Only then can we express our ideas more effectively.
Converting your ideas into action:
Spend some time understanding the skills you have and what you can contribute to you the community and people around you. Humans have immense power, which is fuelled by our belief in ourselves and others.
Do a service to yourself by honouring what you have to offer in this world. No one in this world has the same qualities, ideas and thoughts as you. By sharing these ideas and taking action, you are acknowledging the magic you have within you and giving importance to yourself.
If we are not able to get this feeling within us, it hinders our ability to serve and acknowledge other people.
One more thing that stood out to me was, we often think of ourselves as normal human beings, but the truth is we are all battling some demons, monsters or dragons; however, you want to call it. If we are battling things and trying to overcome things constantly, doesn’t that make us Heroes?
Mr. Samuel put a beautiful twist in our own story by asking us questions in that way, like “What is your origin story?” how did we end up where we are today? It really was food for thought, I resonated with it whole heartedly because, personally, I faced so many different kind of troubles in life, despite all of that, I made it out, and I feel I am becoming stronger every day.
I would say that is extremely heroic, and out of experience, being able to pick yourself up, is an extremely empowering feeling. One say I thought of everything that has brought me to where I am, the good, the bad, the ugly, the painful and I realized I don’t regret a single thing that happened, because all of that contributed to the way I am today.